CCMA Awards converge on London after going virtual last year, head to Calgary in 2022

Cowboy boots are hitting the southern Ontario streets of London as the Canadian Country Music Association kicks off its annual awards show tonight — this time in person.

The country music celebration returns to the live-event sphere for the first time since Calgary hosted in 2019. 

Brett Kissel from Flat Lake, Alta., heads into the bash already having won best video for “Make A Life, Not A Living,” at a ceremony last night that handed out the bulk of the awards. He also won best country music program or special for “Brett Kissel: Live At The Drive-In,” and a new award for live innovation.

Tonight, Kissel competes for entertainer of the year against Dean Brody of Smithers, B.C.; MacKenzie Porter of Medicine Hat, Alta.; the Reklaws from Cambridge, Ont.; and Dallas Smith of Langley, B.C. 

The CCMAs say they will return to Calgary for next year’s bash in 2022, when a weeks’ worth of country music events are set to culminate with an awards show at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Tonight’s bash is hosted by Lindsay Ell of Calgary and “Canada’s Drag Race” winner Priyanka, known out of drag as Mark Suknanan of Toronto. The show streams live Nov. 29 on the Global TV app and Amazon Prime Video, and an encore presentation airs Friday on Global TV.

The ceremony is expected to take place in front of a fully vaccinated crowd at the downtown Budweiser Gardens.

The CCMA has been enforcing a vaccination policy, which it announced in September, at all Country Music Week events leading up to and including the award show. COVID-19 cases have been rising in the province this month.

Attendees, including performers, presenters, their teams and guests must be fully vaccinated to be part of tonight’s show. In-person performers include the Reklaws, Smith and Ell.

U.S. country star Chris Stapleton, who won six Country Music Association Awards earlier this month, is set to perform virtually, as are Thomas Rhett and Walker Hayes.

Last year’s show was a modified virtual event due to COVID-19 restrictions. The multicity production was filmed in Toronto and Nashville weeks before it was broadcast.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 29, 2021.

Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press

Categorized as Life

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